The Washington Times - January 10, 2009, 08:16PM

Looks like President-elect Barack Obama is embracing his new hometown.




After getting a chili half smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl earlier in the day, Obama took his wife and daughters to the Lincoln Memorial to visit his favorite president.


Here’s the pool report:

The president-elect, his wife and two daughters departed the Hay-Adams hotel in the motorcade at 7.03pm and after driving past the Washington monument arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 7.12pm.

The family climbed the steps to the monument alongside scaffolding erected for a platform. At one point the president-elect appeared to pause in front of Lincoln’s statue. They spent fifteen minutes inside, exiting at 7.26pm and entering the monument’s underground exhibit. Michelle, Malia and Sasha were wearing parkas; the president-elect seemed to be wearing a lighter jacket. The monument did not seem to have been closed to tourists, as several people emerged with young children shortly after the president-elect and his family.

The family left the exhibit after ten minutes, with Sasha stepping up onto a low wall and walking along it as the family headed out.

The motorcade left the memorial at 7.36 and arrived back at the Hay-Adams at 7.46. A full lid was announced.


Obama went to Ben’s with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty this afternoon, telling the clerk behind the counter at the institutional favorite to keep the change.


Of course, Ben’s has long had the policy the Obama family eats for free, along with Bill Cosby.


Here’s a portion of the Ben’s Chili Bowl pool report:


The pair reached the 50-year-old Washington fast food institution, Ben’s Chili Bowl, at 12.55. The president-elect posed with diners and staff in all three rooms of the restaurant, before returning to the counter to collect his order: a chili half smoke and sweet tea, and cheese fries and water for Mr Fenty. The president-elect paid with a $20 bill, telling the counter attendant who asked if he wanted change, “No, we’re straight.”

The president-elect and mayor took a two-person table, and joked with diners as they ate. Mr. Obama returned to the counter for shredded cheese, Mr. Fenty’s water and some napkins.

Asked about the importance of the visit, Mr Obama said: “it means I’m going to get a hot dog.” He said it was his first visit to the restaurant. He would not be drawn on a sporting preference for Maryland and Georgetown.

I was the pool reporter on duty yesterday, when nothing exciting happened, though I did predict he’d make Ben’s one of his first D.C. stops.


I snapped this picture yesterday of Lafayette Park with the White House in the distance from the pool van in front of the Hay-Adams.



Washingtonians seem to be enjoying the new first family making D.C. their home, but one downside is there are going to be a lot more motorcades holding up traffic over the next four years.


 Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent,
The Washington Times


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